Randy Pausch, the Carnegie Mellon professor who became a YouTube phenomenon with his "Last Lecture," died Friday of complications from pancreatic cancer. He was 47. He died at his home in southern Virginia.
Pausch told USA TODAY during an interview at his home in March that the now-famous lecture was never meant for public consumption, nor was it for his colleagues or students. It was for his two sons and daughter: Dylan, 6, Logan, 3, and Chloe, 2. "If people are finding inspiration, OK, but the book is for my kids," Pausch said.
"I knew what I was doing that day," he wrote in the introduction of his best-selling book, also titled The Last Lecture. "Under the ruse of giving an academic lecture, I was trying to put myself in a bottle that would one day wash up on the beach for my children."
Pausch's wife, Jai, said Friday, "I'd like to thank the millions of people who have offered their love, prayers and support. Randy was so happy and proud that the lecture and book inspired parents to revisit their priorities, particularly their relationships with their children. The outpouring of cards and emails really sustained him."
President George W. Bush, touched by Pausch's story, recently honored him in a letter, citing his service to his country.
"Your love of family, dedication in the classroom, and passion for teaching will stand as a lasting legacy, and I am grateful for your willingness to serve," Bush wrote.
Bush's wasn't the only accolade that came Pausch's way. He made Time magazine's list of the 100 most influential people in the world.